In my unretirement, I am back into the world of instructional design this semester. During my first phase working in this area, I was the manager of a department of instructional design, but as the years passed and I moved on I became a designer independently.
For the next year, I will be designing the initial courses that will launch the Virtual campus at the County College of Morris in New Jersey. This is a virtual designer position. I will do almost all my work virtually.
The Instructional Designer (ID) is a fairly new job title that existed in some form in corporate training setting before moving into education. Of course, teachers at all levels have been "designing" their instruction forever. But the instructional designer position really came to the forefront with technology-enhanced teaching and learning and the growth of distance and then online courses.
I often point out that instructional technology is "the other IT" - an abbreviation that is generally meant to mean "information technology." In my world of IT, the "instructional" takes precedence over the "technology." Perhaps, it should abbreviated as It?
If you look at any job postings for IDs, you will find a wide variety of responsibilities and desired skills. I compiled a list back when I was interviewing people for those positions and was surprised to find the number of items on it.
- Collaborates with faculty and other subject matter experts to apply current instructional design theories, practice, and methods to learning activities and course content in alignment with learning outcomes.
- Provides instructional design or curriculum development training and support to academic units and
- whose work is not limited to online and hybrid courses and programs
- Addresses accessibility concerns
- Develops course templates
- Structures learning activities
- Creates or assist other sin creating visual resources and interactive elements
- Works with faculty to assess and improve the quality of hybrid and online courses using standards such as Quality Matters.
- May write or edit copy, instructional text, and audio/video scripts for courses
- Identifies opportunities for adoption of open education resources OER
- Provides additional help to faculty with a learning management system (Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard etc.)
- Develops and facilitates individual and cohort-based training and orientation programs
- Stays current with expertise in the field by reading appropriate professional journals and trade publications, and
- Attends and presents at professional conferences, workshops and meetings
- May serve on library, university, and regional or national committees and project teams
- Coordinates activities related to orientation and onboarding in-depth/comprehensive pedagogical and instructional technology support of new full and part time instructors.
- Consults with faculty on approaches to learning and instruction and helps them to develop materials such as assignment instructions, rubrics, etc.
- Provides models, templates, and frameworks that faculty can use to structure course related projects, assignments, and activities.
- Manages the design and development of curriculum and courses according to project timelines.
- Assists faculty to identify and evaluate instructional software
- Support relevant emergent initiatives (such as Digital Humanities, Makerspaces)
- Research and test new technologies that support teaching and learning and solve specific problems
What kind of resume items would I expect to see for a good ID candidate? That varies a lot more than the above responsibilities list. I know lots of colleges that have one ID on staff, and larger schools with a department with six or more people. I also see some crossover at some schools with the position of Instructional Technologist. Personally, I see those two positions as very different, but not all schools agree - often it's an issue of available money and salary lines.
I would like to see:
- A minimum of two years of experience in an instructional design, faculty development, or project management position related to teaching with technology in a college or university setting.
- Demonstrated experience (meaning you can show me samples for all the "experience" items here) designing templates for online courses in collaboration with department, program, and/or institutional faculty and staff
- A clear understanding of the learning theories, principles, and strategies that support best practices in online and technology-enhanced teaching, such as Universal Design for Learning.
- Experience with at least one learning management system - hopefully, the one being used at the school.
- Experience designing and facilitating workshops and trainings for instructors
- Clear understanding of policies concerning accessibility, privacy, information security, and academic integrity
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work as a contributing and collegial member of a team, and to communicate proactively within the team environment.
I would prefer to see some of these items on a resume.
- Project management skills
- An advanced degree in a discipline such as Instructional Design, Learning Technologies, Curriculum and Instruction, Adult Learning, or a related field
- Teaching experience in a college or university setting
- A record of professional or scholarly contributions to instructional design or faculty development, evidenced through either publications or participation in professional organizations
- Basic graphic design skills
- Experience with creating innovative assessments (e.g. performance based, game based, media based).